One of the grandest attempted thefts under the guise of IP has been the effort of SCO to hijack Linux. This seems to have come to an end: Groklaw, which has been following the case intently reports
that the judge in the case has ruled that SCO doesn't even own the copyrights in question.
This is also a sad tale of a lawyer gone bad. David Boies who rose to fame by making a monkey out of Microsoft as a government lawyer, and who won our sympathy for defending Napster against the RIAA seemingly turned to the dark side - taking most of SCO's money on a worthless lawsuit that seems to have been designed mostly to bilk investors.
"a lawyer gone bad"?
Remember that lawyers do not actually exist on the 'good-bad' spectrum as we know it.
A lawyer is judged by how well they understand and apply the law and use this to represent their clients.
For example, in this case, TASER® International Files Litigation Against Stinger Systems, Inc. for False Advertising and Unlawful Patent Marking, can there be a 'good' lawyer representing either manufacturer?
How do you know that those lawyers weren't representing Amnesty International in previous cases?
I think you'll find that good lawyers have their ethics surgically removed just after passing the bar exams as they otherwise interfere with their concentration.
The good or bad people are those the lawyers are representing. Look to them to see who have grace and who have fallen.
Who more likely took SCO upon a fool's errand? Darl McBride or David Boies?
It wasn't a fool's errand for David Boies who walked away a rich man courtesy of some not so bright investors; I think Darl McBride did the same.
I think we agree that SCO (company and gullible shareholders) constitutes the fool taken upon a foolish errand.
We agree that someone played SCO's 'not so bright investors' for fools by doing so, and obtained the handsome rewards any confidence trickster would be proud of.
However, just because legal expertise is financed by such rewards shouldn't lead one to conclude that the lawyer is instigating the con, or even tainted by their client's dishonorable intent and unscrupulous methods.
It could be compared to the situation where doctors perfect their professionally necessary emotional detachment to such an extent that they descend into physiologists and find themselves migrating from attending to the health of prisoners, to attending to the needs of their 'interrogators'.
We may wring our hands that people can subvert their own humanity in pursuit of their profession, but we should 'follow the money' if we want to find the bad actors, rather than the grievously neutral.
Thus commerce is culpable for copyright, not the angelic author its arrangement is attributed to.
If we could persuade legislators to put ethics before economics, and lawyers to put citizen before corporate client, then we wouldn't have copyright.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your situation), lawyers put their clients first, and legislators put commerce before civil rights.
And so we get Regal Cinemas (and their CEOs, the shareholders' sociopathic servants) prosecuting their customers for enjoying cultural freedom.
All the professionals involved are doing their job, looking after their shareholders, upholding the law, and absolving themselves of any culpability.
And it's very easy for those who read such news to condemn a criminal rather than confront corruption that ultimately only they can cure.